Jesus Challenges Our Ideas
often do we count our blessings from the view point of the earthly
treasures that we possess? We may look at our houses, cars, bank
accounts, our health, etc., and conclude that we have been blessed by God.
It makes me wonder how the other two thirds of the world may think about
blessings while living in poverty. They may have the tendency to think
they are suffering the curse of God.
9:1 As he went along, he saw a man blind
from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his
parents, that he was born blind?"
3 "Neither this man nor his parents
sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be
displayed in his life. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him
who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the
world, I am the light of the world."
6 Having said this, he spit on the ground,
made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7 "Go," he
told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man
went and washed, and came home seeing. NIV
Jews who were alive when Christ walked the earth sought to measure their
relationship with God by their physical blessings. They came to
Jesus asking what made a certain man blind—was it his sins or his parent’s
sins (John 9:1ff). They believed his blindness was the result of a failed
relationship with God—they believed he was a sinner. To them health,
wealth and prosperity were signs of God’s blessings. It is little wonder
that Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar. Lazarus
the beggar went to heaven, while the rich man went to torment. A man in
poverty blessed over the rich—do you think that maybe the rich man thought
his riches were evidence of a healthy relationship with God.
word challenges our worldly ideas of blessedness. Solomon tells us
not to desire poverty or riches, for either may prove to be a curse.
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and
and say, 'Who is the LORD?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God. NIV
warning is not only true about our individual circumstances, but it is
also true about a congregation’s circumstances. The church at
Laodicea felt blessed above others, she braggingly said, “I am rich; I
have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But then God said, “But you
do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked”
(Revelation 3:14-18) Nice church buildings, money in the bank, large
membership, or exciting worship services. I am thankful for all our
physical blessings, but physical blessings may blind us to the presence of
God. The same may be said about the lack of physical blessings—the lack of
this world’s goods may blind us to God’s presence.
often the way we determine a congregation’s blessedness is very
misleading. We look at a church’s physical size, riches, and
building to consider whether the congregation is blessed. God sees
differently than we see. Those congregations which seem to be thriving may
actually be in worse shape than those congregations which seem to be
hanging on by their fingernails. The church at Philadelphia was weak, but
they were holding on in difficult times, and God promised to bless them.
Life from God is Our Greatest
intrinsic worth is not determined by our possessions or circumstances.
One of the major difficulties of the world today is its low opinion of
itself. I believe selfishness and our self-seeking ways are signs of this.
We are trying to make the world revolve around ourselves to make us feel
speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room
of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 dollar bill?” Hands started
He said, “I
am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this. He
proceeded to crumple the $20 dollar bill up. He then asked, “Who still
wants it?” Still the hands were up in the air.
replied, “What if I do this?” and he dropped it on the ground and started
to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled
and dirty. Now, who still wants it?” still the hands went into the air.
we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the
money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was
still worth $20. So it is with our lives. We sin, we lives less than what
God designed us to live—this is really what sin is. We make bad decisions
that create barriers that force us to spend our lives struggling to
overcome. As a result we often feel worthless.
But do you
realize that no matter what has happened or will happen to you, you will
never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are
still priceless to God and to those who truly love you.
worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, or what we
have, but by WHO WE ARE. You are created in God’s imagine. You
were created as a child of God. God desires to recall you in Jesus Christ.
remember that even a soul in a lost condition retains its value.
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If
anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and
follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever
loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if
he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in
exchange for his soul? NIV
great blessing to be created with such an inestimable value that can never
diminish. It astonishes me that we tend to measure ourselves by
this world’s riches, when each of us is the greatest blessing to the world
that God has to offer. Nothing you can accomplish or possess can make you
more valuable than you already are.
value Christianity places upon each of our souls is what sets it apart
from all other religions. Christianity places such a high value
upon each person. God has said to each of us that his Son is not too high
a price to pay to save our souls.
1 Peter 1:18-20
18 For you know that it was not with
perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the
empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with
the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was
chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last
times for your sake. NIV
True Blessings Come from
blessings are not found in the physical world, but the spiritual. To
realize these spiritual blessings we must see life from God’s perspective.
The book of Ephesians strives to allow us to peer into the heavenly realms
to see our true blessings.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every
spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation
of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he
predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in
accordance with his pleasure and will- 6 to the praise of his glorious
grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have
redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with
the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and
blessing we have in Christ are proof of our intrinsic worth. The
world seeks to diminish our value, but God says it cannot be diminished.
It was determined before you were born—and is truly realized in Christ.
wants us to peer into the heavenly realms so that we can catch a glimpse
of our spiritual blessings in Christ. John was called up in his
vision to see streets paved with gold. Paul was caught up into the
heavenly realms in a vision to see things too wonderful to express.
wants you to focus on the heavenly realms, for there is no way you can
understand your true blessings until you peer over into heaven.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and
your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2, 3). Paul
says, “Your life is hidden with Christ.” We usually hide our
valuables, hopefully in a safe place a thief wouldn’t think of looking.
God has hidden you, his most valuable treasure in Christ. There we are
protected from the thief who desires to plunder our lives.
says, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear
with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). God is going to reveal all
his treasures hidden in Christ when Christ returns, then we will
definitely understand how treasured we are by the creator. We are going to
march in that final triumphant procession with all the greats of the past
as the angels sing alleluia choruses to Almighty God. We will be led
though the streets of gold displayed as the treasure of Almighty God.
in a dark world that tends to blind us to the heavenly realities.
The battles we fight are not with flesh and blood on earth, but with
satanic powers which dwell in heavenly places.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in
his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take
your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against
flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against
the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in
the heavenly realms. NIV
blessing is that we have a power at work for us that’s stronger than all
the demons hell can send against us.
18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart
may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has
called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and
his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like
the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he
raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the
heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion,
and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in
the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed
him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the
fullness of him who fills everything in every way. NIV
God’s Greatest Work is Done
religious people in John 9 looked at the blind man and thought he was in
his condition because he had sinned, or perhaps his parents had sinned.
Either way he had been cursed by God. However, Jesus says, “but
this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”
true that heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament reveals his
handiwork, but his most revealing work is what he desires to do through
you. We must peer into heaven to realize our spiritual blessings,
but it is impossible to understand our spiritual blessings without knowing
that God wishes to reveal his greatest work in each of us.
desires to display his greatest work in your life. Paul said, “We
have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to
men” (1 Corinthians 4:9-10).The prophets of old, even the angels in heaven
longed to understand the work God was endeavoring to do though us.
1 Peter 1:10-14
10 Concerning this salvation, the
prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched
intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and
circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he
predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12
It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you,
when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who
have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even
angels long to look into these things.
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for
action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given
you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform
to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. NIV
says, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action.” There is no way
God can reveal his work through us until we prepare our minds for action.
It is not easy to live in this world and maintain a holy walk. The
anti-God atmosphere around us that the Bible calls "the world" is always
pressing against us, trying to force us to conform our thinking to its way
under a constant barrage of advertisements and appeals that are designed
to get us to focus on what we should believe we deserve of this world’s
good. They are designed to persuade us to measure ourselves by our
things, our money, our possessions, our abilities, our opinions or our
achievements. The basic design of these appeals is to take our focus off
of God’s work he desires to do through us. These seek to convince us that
what we need the world always owes it to us.
world doesn’t want you to believe that you could never be more valuable to
God than you are at this very moment. The ironic thing about the
persuasion of the world is that prods us into believing this world’s goods
will make our lives a blessing, while it deprives us of the very thing it
says we need.
Being made in
the image of God is our greatest blessing. God offers you an opportunity
to allow him to salvage your priceless life through the death of his Son.
The amazing thing is that it is a free gift, but it not cheap. It cost God
plan of salvation: